At first, it appeared like the typical New York Metropolis meet-cute: lady passes boy in SoHo; lady goes on first date with boy, which results in second date; lady ultimately invitations boy to her condo, the place the connection is consummated.
Then, within the morning-after glow, is the place the plot diverges from sappy rom-com to thriller thriller, replete with a lacking pair of $1,000 designer footwear, a TikTok public shaming, fashion-obsessed web sleuths, potential infidelity, gaslighting, dozens of media tales and one very fortunate small knitwear model.
Alexis Dougé, a 25-year-old social media coordinator at Chillhouse, a wellness firm, mentioned she was strolling in downtown New York Metropolis when she locked eyes with a good-looking stranger. A message popped up on Ms. Dougé’s Tinder that night from somebody she’d matched with beforehand, a 23-year-old with a silver nostril ring and a well-kept mustache. “Hey did I see you downtown?”
His identify was Josh, and he wished to know if she was all for getting a drink. Ms. Dougé mentioned sure. (Ms. Dougé shared these particulars and others in an interview with The New York Occasions; Josh declined to remark.)
The 2 spoke about their shared appreciation for style, mentioned Ms. Dougé, who moved to New York to get her grasp’s diploma at Parsons. Throughout the pandemic, she began a knitwear model, Maddi and Dani. The 2 bonded particularly over the luxurious style home Margiela, and its line of footwear known as Tabis.
The footwear, with their signature cloven toe, are polarizing — you’re both obsessive about them or assume they’re hideous. Ms. Dougé and Josh had been among the many obsessives.
Fairly quickly the 2 had been waking up in Ms. Dougé’s condo, having spent the night time collectively. As he was on the point of depart, Ms. Dougé mentioned, Josh informed her he wished to indicate her a Spotify playlist. She handed her cellphone to him, however after a little bit of looking out, he handed the cellphone again and mentioned he couldn’t discover it.
A number of hours later, when Ms. Dougé was doing work on her laptop, she glanced at her shoe rack and seen one thing was lacking. “I’m like, the place are my Tabis?” Ms. Dougé mentioned in a TikTok video she later posted. “I look underneath my mattress, in my suitcase, in my closet.”
She will be able to’t discover them anyplace. Within the video she mentioned she didn’t need to be accusatory, however she needs to ask Josh if he had seen them, for the reason that two had been simply speaking about them. “I am going to Tinder to message him — unmatched. He’s gone,” she continued within the TikTok.
So Ms. Dougé went to her name log to name him however couldn’t as a result of he appeared to have deleted his quantity from her cellphone.
The TikTok, titled “NYC style girlies beware,” and posted shortly after the incident, ends with an expletive-filled rallying name to keep away from Josh on TikTok. The video has been seen almost 1,000,000 instances and spawned a number of updates.
Inside hours of posting the video, Ms. Dougé mentioned, TikTok and Twitter customers had despatched Josh’s full identify, Instagram deal with and cellphone quantity to Ms. Dougé. They’d additionally despatched her a bit of alarming data: Josh had a girlfriend, and the girlfriend had lately posted a photograph of herself sporting the identical Mary-Jane Tabis that had gone lacking from Ms. Dougé’s condo.
When Ms. Dougé confronted Josh over textual content message, he vehemently denied taking the Tabis. However when she despatched him the screenshot of his girlfriend’s Instagram story exhibiting her sporting the identical footwear, he lastly admitted it. “Ight you bought me,” he texted her. “I’ll get them again to you give me a time and place & I’m simply asking to take away the tik Tok is all.” He adopted up with a meme, a GIF of a person shrugging his shoulders guiltily.
The 2 organized for an alternate of the Tabis on the road, which Ms. Dougé additionally recorded and posted to TikTok. Within the video, she is seen holding the footwear whereas speaking to a younger man with a motorcycle, who seems unrepentant. “I actually requested him like: why the hell did you do that?” Ms. Dougé mentioned. “And he was like, ‘I don’t know,’ and he simply saved shrugging and smiling and being like, ‘I don’t know, I simply didn’t assume you had been going to catch me.’”
Very similar to the West Elm Caleb story of yore, the story of the TikTok Tabi thief has gone viral in its personal hyperlocal manner, a distinct segment fixation inside a particular set of younger, chronically on-line New Yorkers. The story does appear to have the entire parts of a viral hit: two engaging compelling characters; a deliciously twisted, low-stakes rip-off; a possible dishonest scandal; a satisfying ending (the sufferer of the story received her footwear again) that leaves room for but extra intrigue (what does the girlfriend consider all this?).
Ms. Dougé mentioned she has to put on sun shades each time she leaves her Brooklyn condo now, as a result of she is consistently getting acknowledged: “They’ll say, ‘Glad you bought your Tabis again!’” She additionally mentioned she has obtained a shocking onslaught of on-line hatred. “Possibly it wasn’t his full intention, however he noticed that I used to be in a susceptible place and he used that to his benefit,” she mentioned. “And even after the actual fact, the people who find themselves slut shaming me and saying that it was my fault and that I deserve it for sleeping with a random individual and stuff — I actually need to query why they’re saying that and why they’re portray me because the individual at fault.”
Web vitriol apart, Ms. Dougé mentioned she believes the entire saga did repay for one unwitting social gathering: Margiela. Dozens of commenters have posted that they’ve been on the hunt for a pair of the Mary-Janes ever since her publish went viral, she mentioned.
Ssense, a web-based retailer, provided to ship her a brand new pair of Tabis “simply in case,” in a message reviewed by The Occasions. (Neither Ssense nor Margiela responded to a request for remark.)
As for Tinder? Ms. Dougé mentioned she has deleted the app.
Chances are you’ll catch her on Hinge or Raya, however her shoe assortment will stay locked up tight any further — particularly her Sandy Liang Salomons, which she says are subsequent season’s most stealable shoe.